. . . A rough Irish gunman, known to her only as “Rafferty”, is entrusted with getting her to her destination “safe and intact”—something he fully intends to do to claim the reward he’s been promised by Jock McIntosh. With a price on his head, the promised money is Rafferty’s ticket to a new life, and he’s not going to jeopardize that for anything—not even love.
. . . But there are steamy nights and dangers all along the arduous trail for Margarita and Rafferty, with deadly secrets between them that passion cannot erase. With her father’s enemies after her and the secret she conceals, will Rafferty’s protection be enough to save their lives? And will the heat of their passionate love be enough to seal their future together—if they do survive?
This week Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome new author Patti Sherry-Crews and Margarita McIntosh from Patti's recent release Margarita and the Hired Gun. First up is Margarita.
Where are you from? Flagstaff, Arizona, though I have spent much of my life in boarding schools and college out east. My mother died when I was young. I suppose it was easier for Father to leave me in the care of others.
Tell us a bit about Margarita and the Hired Gun. This is the story of the most extraordinary adventure I ever had. One day I’m back home from college feeling sorry for myself--I know, poor me, daughter of a wealthy cattle baron--and the next day I find myself on horseback, fleeing for my life with a complete stranger as my protector.
What did you think the first time you saw Rafferty? I thought he was the vilest man I ever laid eyes on. He was rude. He was dirty, smelly and needed a shave. Plus, he greeted us in his filthy long johns.
Un huh. What was your second thought? After he went to the bathhouse and cleaned himself up, I was stunned by how handsome that man was.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Ha! More like loathing at first sight! I already told you my first impression of Rafferty, but he didn’t exactly have a better impression of me. He took one look at me and decided I was a spoiled brat who was going to be nothing but trouble.
What do you like most about Mr. Rafferty? He is—a very skilled man in a variety of ways. He’s very intelligent and funny, if a bit sarcastic at times. He had a gentleman’s education, which did surprise me to learn. He didn’t want to tell me about it, but I wheedled the story of his early life out of him.
How would you describe him? I believe I already mentioned he’s easy on the eyes. His Irish accent is lovely to hear when he’s being nice, but something else when he loses his temper and is shouting and carrying on, waving his arms around like a windmill.
How would he describe you? On a good day, Michael would describe me as curious and intelligent. On a bad day, he’d tell you I’m mouthy and stubborn. Ignore him when he gets like that. I do.
Hah! Good one, Margarita. What made you choose doing nothing as a career? Oh, bother! I hope the modern folk won’t think less of me when I admit I have no career. I think if I lived in a later time I would be a scientist. I’m a very curious, practical person.
What is your biggest fear? In my earlier years, I would say my biggest fear was that I might die of boredom on an Arizona cattle ranch. But now I’d say my biggest fear is of getting shot. And after a hair-rising ride on a narrow trail on the edge of a canyon, I would put fear of heights at the top of my list.
But my biggest fear is of losing Michael. I can’t even talk about that. Just thinking about being without him is giving me what you modern people call a panic attack. There were times I thought I’d lost him, and there’s no worse feeling in the world. Excuse me may I have a tissue? I got something in my eye.
How do you relax? Again, you’re making me blush! Michael and I are well suited to each other; let’s leave it at that.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I don’t read much fiction. I really prefer to read history and philosophy. When we were on the trail Michael brought one book with him, which he would stick his nose in at the end of the day instead of talking to me. It was maddening! I was surprised to find he was reading a work by Marcus Aurelius. He told me it was full of advice on how to deal with difficult people and suggested I read it. I told him I already had. But if I had to pick a fictional character, I say Rosalind in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It is someone I can relate to. Rosalind had to dress as a man. I know what she went through.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? The best piece of advice I ever got was something on the order of, “Run!” If I had not heeded that advice, I’d probably a goner.
Great way to end any interview. Thanks, Margarita for spending time with us. Now we'd like to chat with Patti. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid inspired this book. I saw that movie many times and the opening scene in the outlaw hideout captured my imagination. There was a string of hideouts along the outlaw trail, and I researched them for Margarita and the Hired Gun for the chapters that take place there.
I really got excited about writing was when I read James Joyce’s The Dubliners in high school. Joyce is such a wordsmith. He is every deliberate about each word he uses—he’s even deliberate about punctuation marks. For the first time I saw the power of words. As a writer the only tools we have to create worlds and set moods are words.
I recently read Ulysses (with the aid of a library support group!), and though I wouldn’t hand a copy of it off to someone looking for a fun read, it did inspire me to be a better writer. When I go through a first draft I examine each word and consider if it’s conveying what I want.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I’ve never been on the run or even done much horseback riding. We used to camp a lot when I was a kid until I discovered something called a hotel. My few adult camping experiences were a misery, so I guess I could understand how Margarita would suffer at first having to sleep on the ground and in general take care of her personal lady business.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Prairie Rose Publications, was founded by Cheryl Pierson and Livia Washburn, who are both writers. They wanted to set up a house that is author-friendly. They’re great to work with, along with Katherine Adams Rice, who helps out around there. Very personal and creative. I feel I’m part of a community of authors who are supportive of each other: There are various forums we can interact with each other.
I heard about them through a chance Twitter encounter. I got chatting with Julie Lence a western writer and host of the Facebook group Cowboy Kisses. I told her I’d written my first historical western, and she suggested I submit to PRP because they’re a great bunch to work with.
What project[s] are you working on now? I have a couple of projects I’m working on at the moment. I finished the second draft of a book titled The Lake House, which is a contemporary romance/Chick Lit. This book was inspired by a true event. A friend and her husband went away on vacation with another couple to a remote location. While there the other couple’s marriage fell apart when the husband’s affair was discovered. So my friend and her husband were stuck in holiday hell. I thought it would make a great story. Only in my story the second couple are strangers to each other, who are thrown together amidst the drama.
I’m also working on a ghost story for an historic western anthology. The connecting idea for the seven of us involved in The Good, the Bad, and the Ghostly is an agency that investigates hauntings.
Sounds like you are a very busy woman. What's up next for you? I should spend some time getting organized, because I have too much going on. I have been offered to be part of a Christmas anthology with a few other authors, but we’ve only just started planning.
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